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University Staff Member Creates 'Coming Out' App
Tanya Tsikanovsky, director of Jewish student life at Hartford Hillel, has created an app in which people can make short "coming out" videos or videos supporting gay friends and family members.
Today (Oct. 11) is National Coming Out Day, a day to celebrate gay pride and promote civil rights for individuals who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. Many people choose this day to come out to family, friends, and co-workers.
But for some, the prospect of having that conversation multiple times with many different people can be exhausting and can create tremendous anxiety, said Tanya Tsikanovsky, director of Jewish student life at University of Hartford Hillel.
So Tsikanovsky, who is gay, has created a new app — together with graphic designer and app developer Tommy Sondgroth — that she hopes will “revolutionize the way that people come out of the closet.” The app allows people to make 45-second videos in which they can come out to everyone in their lives at once, in their own way. In addition, individuals who are straight can join the site as “allies” and make videos supporting friends and family members who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning (LGBTQ).
“The idea is to create a safe space where people can connect with each other,” Tsikanovsky said.
The app is called OUT!, but it is transitioning to the name VISIBL. It is currently available for iPhone and iPad, and it will eventually be available for Android devices as well.
To download the app onto an iPhone or iPad, go to the Apple Store from your mobile device using this link:
There is also a Facebook page for the OUT! App.
To date, more than 1,300 people have downloaded the app, from as far away as Venezuela, Chile, England, and Israel, Tsikanovsky said.
Tsikanovsky, who is a blogger for The Huffington Post, has written several pieces about the concept behind the OUT! App — using social media to make coming out less stressful, while at the same time raising the visibility of the LGBTQ community.
“Instead of having to go through the exhausting process of coming out multiple times to multiple people, create a video where you say exactly what you want, one time, for everyone to see,” Tsikanovsky wrote in a July 2013 blog post in The Huffington Post.
“Not only do you make the final step of the coming-out process easier on yourself, but you also make yourself visible to the world, visible to the people who live in the places that claim to not have any LGBTQ people there,” Tsikanovsky wrote. “Well, here we are. We are visible.”
Read Tsikanovsky’s July 2013 blog post in The Huffington Post.
Read Tsikanovsky’s February 2013 blog post in The Huffington Post.